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Wednesday September 28th

The Very Best of Summer 2014

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By Jonathan Edmondson & Kimberly Ilkowski
Arts & Entertainment Editor & Review Editor

Best Film

Jonathan: “Boyhood,” written and directed by Richard Linklater, is without a doubt the best film of 2014 to date. Filmed over 11 years from 2002 to 2013, the film focuses on a young boy (played by newcomer Ellar Coltrane) as he grows-up in the 21st century. The audience watches Coltrane and the rest of the powerhouse cast (including Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) grow up before their eyes, creating a truly original piece of cinema. Critics everywhere have been calling this a landmark, for no other film has been shot like this before. “Boyhood” is more than just a film — it’s a work of art.

Kimberly: “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” was a stellar way to start off the summer movie season. The film, directed by Bryan Singer, follows Wolverine as he goes back in time to try and change the dark future to which he and his X-men are doomed. It’s extremely interesting to see younger versions of the characters interact with one another, especially Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as Professor X. Anyone who loves the franchise will not be disappointed with this movie — it delivers everything you would want from an “X-Men” movie, the intense action, the beloved characters and the heart.

Latest 'X-Men' flick is an action-filled blockbuster. (AP Photo)

Best Album

Jonathan: “Strange Desire” by Bleachers made the perfect sun-kissed, indie-pop soundtrack to my summer. For a debut album, “Strange Desire” holds together remarkably well in a short but memorable 11-song package. Started as a side project by Jack Antonoff of fun., Bleachers has been touring the country in support of this record and has quickly become a festival favorite. “I Wanna Get Better” is the band’s successful single, but listen to tracks like “Rollercoaster” to really absorb its unique and youthful sound.

Kimberly: “Lazaretto” by Jack White is the ex-White Stripes singer’s second studio album, and it’s even better than his first. Each song has a unique style that sets it apart and highlights White’s range. Whether he’s singing the blues or shredding his guitar, it’s clear he’s a master at what he does. White always strives to bring something new to the table, and this time it lands on the turntable. The vinyl version of “Lazaretto” has all kinds of cool features like hidden tracks, alternate intros and holograms.

Best TV Show

Jonathan: “Project Runway,” now in it’s 13th season, still manages to be one of the best reality competition shows on television. During a summer that’s filled with mostly reruns, “Runway” is a burst of fresh air and a rare glimpse into the exclusive world of fashion design. While drama certainly sizzles in the workroom, the real emphasis is always on the designs — some are hits and others are total misses. While it may not be as riveting as “True Blood,” “Project Runway” is uniquely its own and has a format that is both accessible and entertaining to watch.

Kimberly: “The Half Hour” on Comedy Central features stand up sets from lesser-known comedians, and that’s precisely what makes it great. Each week you have no idea what you’re in for, but sure enough, you end up completely loving the comedians and repeating their jokes to your friends. Many of the comedians, like my favorite Mark Normand, are able to blend social issues and humor together in a way that makes you stop and think after the show is over. For others, like Joe Wengert, it’s all about the quirky delivery style. It’s a great show for discovering new talent and to end your day with a laugh.

Best Novel

Jonathan: “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart is a riveting, suspense-filled young adult novel that truly delivers. Lockhart crafts her characters with a delicate balance, leaving the reader unsure of who exactly he should be rooting for. Centered around summers on a private island, “Liars” follows the story of a group of teenagers growing up in a corrupt, upper-class family. The novel also has one of the most incredible, “didn’t-see-that-coming” endings I have ever read.

Kimberly: “No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes” by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico is an oral history of the now closed (and now infamous) City Gardens punk club right here in Trenton, New Jersey. The book chronicles shows throughout the ’80s and early ’90s using interviews from club regulars and band members alike. It’s fun to read about bands playing there before they hit massive fame and how much Trenton meant to them and their careers. There’s even multiple references to our school radio station WTSR, DJs of which played a huge role in the scene.

Best Song

Jonathan: “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith is not your traditional summer-jam, but its hard to imagine these past few months without this chilling ballad blasting over radios everywhere. Smith, a newcomer to the music business, launched into the public eye with this song about the morning after a one-night stand. His crooning vocals and touching lyrics helped elevate this track for listeners to remember for years to come.

Best 1

Smith has hit summer song. (AP Photo)

Kimberly: If you listen to the Philly radio station Radio 104.5, a day hasn’t gone by where you haven’t heard “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers. In anticipation for their free concert at Festival Pier, the band was brought out of obscurity and played non-stop — thus becoming the soundtrack to all my long summer car rides. With such a jovial sound and easy to sing along lyrics, what more could you need?


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